XBiz calls itself “The Industry Source” for adult business owners and webmasters. Today it reports that “An organized group that waged a local war against Capital Video from opening a large adult store in the middle of town was victorious… The decision to regulate the sale of adult content within town limits grew from a belief that the proposed Capital Video store would create a negative impact on the community, a popular argument that cites the secondary effects of pornography being harmful.”
Read the full story (XBiz site, has explicit ads).
Some people have made comments on this blog and elsewhere critical of our approach to the problems posed by porn and the porn industry. Some say our efforts are pointless. Others say they could be better directed. I’d say a handful of people with support from their neighbors and a weblog have got the attention of the adult industry in a very short period of time. Other citizens elsewhere should feel encouraged to do the same.
Additional coverage of NoPornNorthampton in the adult news industry includes (all links go to pages with explicit ads):
XBiz, 7/6: “Liberal Town Says ‘No’ to Porn Shop”
AVN, 9/28: “Massachusetts Community Divided Over Adult Store”
AVN, 10/26: “Massachusetts Allows Anti-Porn Group to Seek Donations”
AdultFYI, 11/11: “Capital Video Defeated by Anti-Porn group”
8 thoughts on “XBiz: “NoPornNorthampton Defeats Capital Video””
Congratulations. You’ve successfully restricted American freedoms just a little bit more. You must love the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act and the like for all the reasonable restraints on freedom and community safety that they provide…
America used to be a free country. Thanks for making it a little less so.
Since you’ve positioned yourself as an expert on journalism and journalistic ethics, particularly when it comes to not presenting stories “in a deceptive wrapping through false fronts,” I’m curious as to why you chose not to disclose the fact that the “stories” you link to at Xbiz and AdultFYI are, in fact, regurgitations, in full and in part, of your own press release?
Capital Video’s freedom to sell porn has to compete with our neighborhood’s desire to be safe and prosperous, to feel free to walk around without fear or harassment. There are lots of laws that limit your freedom because some people can’t be trusted to restrain themselves. The case for adult-use zoning is as good or better than that for many of these laws.
Absolute principles have a pleasant clarity in the abstract, but the real world is more messy. Illiberal people can and do seize on liberal principles to advance illiberal ends. Since many adult businesses ignore community concerns, laws are needed to restrain them. In this case, adult-use zoning meets citizens’ needs without resulting in generally increased censorship (see librarians’ reports).
I haven’t studied the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act in the same detail as adult-use zoning. If these laws have a bad balance between costs and benefits, the people should agitate to correct them. Maybe the recent national elections are a sign of this, and the cycle of government action and citizen feedback is working.
It’s not much of a secret. We currently link to our latest press release prominently towards the top of the NoPornNorthampton home page. AdultFYI explicitly notes they are publicizing a press release.
And does it really matter? News organizations draw on press releases all the time. That’s the major goal of issuing releases. What’s signficant is that adult media are choosing to publicize information about NoPornNorthampton and the situation in our town, implying they think it’s important.
There’s a difference between reporting on a story and publishing a press release, and you know it. So when you say that Xbiz is “reporting” on the story, you’re not being accurate.
In addition, the sites that picked up your press release aren’t really interested in reporting on the industry. Instead, they’re looking for free content for their sites so that they can sell more advertising. In other words, they’re using your press release to sell pornography.
But I suppose the real question is, what’s the difference between your paying someone to get your press releases out there and what you’ve accused me of doing?
Hi Adam and Jendi –
You state “Since many adult businesses ignore community concerns…” I agree this is historically true, but primarily because people like you have made it culturally unacceptable for community sensitive and responsible members of society to own and operate adult businesses. And, to my knowledge, at least, you fail to admit to us and yourselves your role in that and therefore your share of responsibility for the problem.
Further, since you state “many” rather than “all”, you implicitly admit that pornography is not inherently harmful, contrary to the position NPN and its sources seem overwhelmingly to advance. Finally – why didn’t you do that during the zoning debate?
You then further state “…laws are needed to restrain them.” Why is it necessary to impose prior restraints? You have already admitted that the problem is not inherent in the content or in the providers. Further, why should we impose prior restraints where constitutionally enshrined values are at stake, where we do not find it necessary with respect to other potentially harmful activities such as consumption of alcohol, casino gambling, etc., etc.? Surely, there are not more important that than the free flow of ideas and expression?
Andrew, if Capital Video is secretly paying you to present their case to the public, then they are essentially buying what credibility you have as a local family man. Presumably they would adopt this deceptive packaging in order to make their case more acceptable to the public. As a bonus, you’re someone who has a blog hosted on Masslive, so you would be presenting Capital Video’s ‘advertising’ as editorial content on a major journalism site. I would hope that a well-established journalistic enterprise like Masslive would instantly recognize this as an unacceptable blurring of the lines between advertising and editorial. I am amazed that you are having such difficulty with this concept. Would it be OK for any business to secretly pay Masslive bloggers to promote their products?
Far from any fake grassroots campaign, or “Astroturf”, NoPornNorthampton represents the authentic grassroots opinion of people who actually live in Northampton, who have not been paid by interested outsiders to make their arguments, and who have no profit motive. Our press release has our organization name and contact information all over it. Everything is out in the open. There is no deception, no hidden third party.
I think it’s to their credit that the adult news industry reports on events that are not favorable to them. I was concerned they would ignore the industry’s loss in Northampton.
Some sites have higher journalistic aspirations than others. What quality should we assign to the blogs at Masslive? That’s the interesting question here.
Peter, I think the owners of Pride & Joy and Oh My are good examples of more community-sensitive and responsible members who sell adult material, so you have two counterexamples in your own backyard.
Should citizens not criticize the (many) bad actors in the porn industry for fear of scaring away some nameless future good actor? Your formula would result in community paralysis and inaction on a wide range of issues.
Porn and erotica are on a spectrum. The home page of our blog gives guidance on how to distinguish between them. The porn merchants have little trouble making the distinction. I found little sign of work by Henry Miller or Anais Nin at the various Capital Video stores I visited.
There is even more offensive Capital Video content (along the lines of bondage, sadism, incest, etc.) we could have presented to the City Council but chose not to. We have also recently linked to several more secondary effects studies on the blog. Far from overstating our case about porn and its harms, we probably understated it.
It’s necessary to impose prior restraints because so many cities and towns have had miserable experiences with adult businesses. Alcohol and gambling are heavily regulated by our government. The porn industry has shown that it needs regulating, too. We have already shown that this regulation (zoning) can be put in place without resulting in general increasing censorship.